The inaugural event of the European SPECTRUM project, which aims to develop a sustainable strategy for the future of the field dedicated to collecting and processing data produced by high-energy physics and radio astronomy, took place in Amsterdam in early February. Funded under the Horizon Europe program, the project brings together and federates key players involved in scientific computing and the largest computing centers at the European level. Italy making an important contribution to SPECTRUM in both these areas through the participation of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics and Cineca, which will be supported by the work of researchers and the computational infrastructure of ICSC – Italian Research Center on HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing.

SPECTRUM’s goal is to address the problem of sustainability of scientific computing for the disciplines the project addresses. Indeed, the amount of data collected, shared and processed in frontier research is expected to increase rapidly in the next decade, leading to unprecedented needs for data processing, simulation and analysis. In particular, high-anergy particle physics and radio astronomy are preparing revolutionary tools that require infrastructures many times larger than current capabilities.

In this context, the SPECTRUM project aims to formulate a Research, Innovation and Implementation Strategy (SRIDA) and a technical design document outlining both financially and environmentally sustainable solutions. This collaborative effort aims to create an Exabyte-scale federation of research data, promoting ‘data intensive’ scientific collaborations across Europe.

“Today we are seeing an increasing use of systems in which the use of data and high performance computing are increasingly interconnected. – Says Fabio Affinito, Head of Specialist Support and R&D CINECA – This dynamic requires special attention in the design and development strategies that can adapt to different and specific user use cases. In this context, SPECTRUM represents an extraordinary opportunity, and CINECA, also as the leader of ICSC’s Spoke 0 on Infrastructure, is excited to contribute to the project.”

“We have high expectations on the SPECTRUM project,” says Tommaso Boccali, researcher at INFN in Pisa, ICSC Spoke 2 Leader and project manager for INFN, “but what we feel is most relevant is the possibility of an open and constructive discussion between users and big data infrastructures, leading to a future greater integration and the design of a next generation of the latter that is more usable by the scientific communities we represent. Activities to which the ICSC National Center will be able to provide important support through the distributed infrastructure it intends to build by federating and enhancing HPC and Big Data resources nationwide through a datalake open for research purposes to scientific communities and industry.”